Fear is an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events.
But what about when that ‘traumatic’ event isn’t an event at all and the only thing that took place was a story in your head?
Recently I was telling friends about my ‘traumatic event’ at Target a few weeks ago. Although embarrassing and not something I like to admit as a grown woman, I’ll just say it: I’m not great with elevators.
If they are small and older than five to ten years, you won’t catch me in one.
My husband and I have been to the same resort in Jamaica three times and I have never taken the elevator once. I once sent my stroller up the elevator of a medical building while I ran up the stairs with my baby. I sometimes wait near an elevator checking my phone until someone comes along and if they look like a maintenance man, I will surly hop on with him. It’s like sitting next to a pilot on an airplane. If the elevator is new and has one clear glass to see out of (like the ones at a mall), I’m all good. I’ll ride those all day long with a smile on my face but place me in one with limited lighting and a certain kind of bounce when you step in and my palms are sweaty. All sad, but all true. Fear created from nothing.
So every so often I like to challenge myself and that day when I was faced with a cart full of garden pots and only an empty elevator, I told myself to man-up. You got this girrrrl. It’s a huge elevator (like the ones at the airport) and it’s new. What’s the big deal? As the doors shut, I realized that my phone was dead. It’s okay, I won’t need it.
But what if I do?
What if this is the one time I get stuck and it’s the one time in the history of my phone that it’s out of power. What if? What if? The elevator moved like an elephant through a pool of molasses. I wasn’t even sure if it was even in motion at all. The floor level sure didn’t change either. I panicked.
After grunting obscenities at the floor and squeezing the handle of the cart so hard my hands burned, the doors opened. I was free. I would live. I got into my car and held up my hands. They were still shaking.
Absolutely nothing had happened. But oh so much had. It was through my perception and my expectation that this profoundly anxious moment had occurred. What actually happened though was nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I laughed at myself because sometimes that is the only thing we can do. Fear is, most of the time, a complete waste of emotion and energy. My elevator phobia is somewhat ridiculous and inconsequential in the grand landscape of my life, and it does not in any way stop me from going anywhere or doing anything. I always make it to where I need to go either via the stairs or within the dark elevator for a few minutes of body freezing tension. But for other people however, their irrational phobias take over their lives.
If I can laugh at myself, it’s okay to laugh at others then right? Check these hilarious videos out.
Girl is afraid of pickles:
Oh no, not a chicken!